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I don't know if Wheaton's fatalism is warranted. After all, this whole Russia thing hasn't gone away.
It's been a consistent feature of reporting on the Trump administration. It doesn't seem to be getting any better for them either.
Were it any other administration, I'd say a pardon in this situation would be political suicide. But trumpets online are already arguing about how this isn't a big deal, so who knows.
- or perhaps DTjr will do some minimal time and take the heat for the whole crew
Trump can always pardon him too. . .
An incremental step to what?
New technology brings with it the potential to cause serious social problems. I think most of the serious potential problems associated with self-driving cars have been overlooked by most people interested in automation. I think that serious consideration should be given to the negative implications of this technology. I don't really think that the potential problems which I have raised have been seriously addressed.
Most of the ethical discussions surrounding self-driving cars seem to be concerned with who should get squished. When it seems to me, the questions of "Who should have control over the fleets?" and "What sort of consumer rights acquiescence is warranted?" are far bigger problems.
Also, I don't think cell phones are a good example of reasonably dealing with techno-political problems. Today, cell phones are a part of the massive-passive surveillance infrastructure which governments and their corporate partners have been diligently building for the last 20 years. Very little has been done to address that and that has serious implications for stable liberal democracies.
Self-driving cars are probably going to cause serious problems for society which outweigh their benefits.
The problems they can create are largely related to civil rights and liberties.
The apparent business model for these things is to move from sales to service, which means:
1). The public's ability to get around will be permanently subject to the capricious whims of a corporation.
2). People's daily activities and movements will be captured in large data sets, over which they have no control.
One of the things that worries me about this, is that we already see the government using corporate actors to circumvent the civil rights of citizens. (E.g., asking telecoms to store data about their customer's calls so the government can rifle through it at will.) Imagine a world where they have access to high resolution data about citizen movement.
A suitably obsequious corporation could probably be convinced to deny people transportation too. Want to go downtown to participate in a protest? Sorry, the cars aren't going downtown tonight. In fact, we've decided that you are an undesirable, so we won't be allowing you in our cars any more. You don't get to object because this is a private company offering a service to you. They can withdraw service at any time.
Self-driving cars, while heralded as a life saving technology, are likely to create a situation where people are completely dependent on a system which extends to them no rights.